Section 34: Double Take

Posted: September 22, 2012 in Uncategorized

Just when we thought the dust would settle on the Section 34 Fiasco as the Prime Minister was forced to address the nation on the matter, even more was kicked up. Where did this start, and where is it now? Read on and see the most boldface stab in the back to our democracy. 

It all started with the passing of an act containing the controversial Section 34 which was considered an important element in a more fair administration of justice. Basically it stated that a person could not be charged for a crime 10 years after the commission of that crime. Now this was passed with the Government assurance that the bill will be proclaimed (made law) next year January in order to allow matters currently before the courts to take their courses to justice. What a shock it was when it was discovered that in all of the bacchanal surrounding the extravagant Independence Day celebration, Section 34 was proclaimed early. No no, not the Bill at hand, just a single stand alone provision being made law by itself. Absurd? Why just ask the D.P.P. (as he used this word to describe this), the Chamber of Commerce, the Chief Justice, opposing government organizations, humanitarian NGOs, and waves of attorneys who have been up in arms against this golden Fiasco. 

Who where the first 2 that rushed towards using the clause? Why Ish and Steve of course. That lovable duo of corruption who’s signatures are on multi-million dollar UNC party cheques. Coincidence? So the Government says without saying it. Mark buss, US embassy get vex (as they were suppose to be extradited for serious financial charges in the US), which was skillfully blocked by the AG, and all of us sudden the Government falls silent. Coincidence again? Over to an emergency cabinet meeting, and then an emergency Parliament sitting to repeal Section 34, with retroactive effect. The call for repeal (which was agreed upon in the Lower House and the Senate), came with the call from the Government “Just move on, and allya vote for it too eh!”. Just move on? Nah nah nah, this is too serious to be a 10 day (wuk) wonder, and the opposition voted for the Bill, not the early proclamation. More misdirection that ended up directing the public to ask more questions.

The call now for answers. The PM remained silent on the matter despite the cry from the public for answers.  Lets put things into perspective here;
-A law is passed unanimously with trust instilled in the Government to proclaim in due time.
-The Government proclaims it early with a giant smokescreen of a costly 50th Independence Celebration.  
-Days later Ish and Steve file to be let off of charges under Section 34
-Mark Buss, Nation Outraged
-PM remains quiet. 

So what happens now? The Opposition announces a march to demand answers and action. NGOs including The Jericho Project and Fixin’ TnT jump in the mix in the interest of action being taken. Over 10 000 citizens in the middle of the week at 1:00pm march from the Red House (still under renovations) to the President’s House (still under renovations as well…), and over 25 000 signatures are collected in less than 48 Hrs. The President is on vacation (yet again), but the acting President Hamelsmith receives the petition. The call was for the removal of the AG, the Justice Minister, and the immediate addressing of the nation by the PM in regards to the fiasco. The National Security Minister during this march makes a statement that he doesn’t care what the people demand, the PM will make a statement if she chooses to and wont is she doesn’t (an elected official saying he doesn’t care what the people demand…seriously? He’s that arrogant now?). O and btw, the Minister of Legal Affair Prakash Ramadhar said he sorry, not like anyone really cared or considers the COP relevant in any way again but guess it should be mentioned just for the hell of it. 

The PM addressed the Nation. The PM Addressed the nation thinking that she danced around the issue of the Proclamation of Section 34 with the finesse of a well trained boxer when it looked more like the moves of a fresh amateur wrestler. The room full of our expanded cabinet of 36 members took their seats. The Justice Minister wasn’t invited to the cabinet pre-meeting. Started in her usual fashion (almost an 45mins-1hr later than announced), the PM claimed that she held back opinion until she did her investigations. Now this implies that she didn’t know what was going on…wonder if clueless-ness in her own cabinet was really the best defense here, but hey, anything would be better to admitting to a lie/conspiracy. What followed an erratic and non-comprehensive public law lesson on the separation of powers. At this point with extreme fidgeting, implying that she knows she’s not entirely confident or plain out knows that the statements are soaked in political sewage. She emphasizes that the Parliament voted for this as a whole and she couldn’t speak for why they did so, avoiding what we really wanted to know, ‘Why the early proclamation.’ Putting it off on the Opposition saying that if it didn’t pass, then they wouldn’t have been able to proclaim it early. So in other words the PM is telling us that we can’t trust them with anything…Wait! It gets better!
After saying that no one in particular was benefiting here and that it was for the good of all citizens (Ish and Steve are citizens I guess), The PM then goes on to distance the AG from this matter as well, throwing the Justice Minister under the bus one time. Now while it is my (and many’s) view that the Justice Minister should have been removed a long time ago, he was used as a scapegoat here to save face. Following, the PM starts to reiterate the 2010 slogans for good governance and engages in self praise for integrity and against the PNM administration prior. Well we know they are still living in May 24th 2010, but they don’t realize that the nation isn’t again. This grand announcement let TnT wondering-Who is the PM really protecting?
-How could the PM avoid the major issue(s)?
-Why was the PM so unsure?
-What role did the AG really play?
-Why yuh lying for?
-What else is being done that we can’t trust?

Senator Al-Rawi was interviewed via phone on the TV station immediately following. The PNM and various NGOs forced Kamla up to bowl, she bowled a slow ball, and the Senator hit her for at least a 4 runs. He pointed out that the Genesis of the Proclamation needs to be reviewed, and noted that the PM attempted to take all responsibility and accountability off of the AG. The social media response from UNC party loyalists was that firing of the expendable and unpopular Volney as a show of good governance, and at then going back into Manning corruption and Rowley bacchanal. You know that you are out of fuel when you have to go back in history to Manning. The PR is falling short and this issue it not one that is going to be covered up easily with paid bloggers, far less what they intend, i.e. this being made into a plus for popularity.

Our trust as a nation has been betrayed. A section of a Bill made a stand alone law to protect two party financiers, and the revocation being a matter of “we get catch, pull back!” The excuse being to palm off the blame on the passing of it, affirming by the Government that we cannot trust them with doing the right thing (or at least what they say they will do). Ministers being thrown under the bus to protect inner circle members and a nation still left outraged and in furious want of answers. We have been hit so by surprise by this mess that we have to wonder if this really happened, so shockingly bold face that we are left to repeatedly do a Double Take. 

Doubt this issue is over by a long shot….

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